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Friday Prompt - Habits

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This week, I’m thinking about habits. Summing up Aristotle’s approach, Will Durant wrote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

Many successful creative people (Julia Cameron, Twyla Tharp, and Elizabeth Gilbert, to name but a few) advocate creativity as a habit: you show up to the desk/studio/keyboard, and the Muse takes care of the rest, which is a lovely theory. In practice, you can have dry spells when the Muse isn’t showing up even though you do. Sometimes it feels like you’re doing all the heavy lifting, all the work, but it doesn’t pay off.

For this reason, I think creative habits should be ones we enjoy. James Clear advocates reducing the friction of the desired behaviour. If it’s the easiest choice, we’ll do it. It’s because we are lazy. Yes, you too. Yes, me too. Everyone is. Our brains have evolved to waste no energy; you never know when you’ll need it. So if it’s easier to pick up an apple than to scour the high shelf for chocolate, you’ll pick the apple most days. I’m not saying; some days require chocolate. But on most days.

Think about habits you would like to have. Habits you would like not to have. Make a list. I love lists. For the habits you would like to have: what is something you can do that makes it easier to do this action? For the habits you would like not to have: what do you gain from this habit? Is there something you could do instead that would be a tiny step toward where you want to be?

By the way, if a character with annoying habits strolls onto your writing page, don’t ignore it! Write them out, think about their habits. Why do they keep them despite detrimental results?


Hey there! I would love to hear whatever you're willing to share that came from the prompt. Please comment below or click on the chat window, even if it's only to tell me that you've found this prompt useful (or ridiculous).

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